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Leona Support in League of Legends

Leona is currently my favorite support champion in all of League of Legends. I either pick her or ban her in every game I play when I get the chance and that is because she is so incredibly hard to deal with. As a support she cannot heal which is pretty much her only downside, but she instead can tank better than any other support, CC better than any other support, and also provides a fair amount of damage actually. Her damage is by no means high, but she can provide a few hundred points of damage to an enemy and that is really all you need for a short engage. In this article I am going to talk about everything I can think of relating to Leona’s amazing capabilities as a support, how she is best played, and also her weaknesses and how to avoid them as best you can.

 

Leona’s Strengths

Leona has really big power spikes at level 2, 3, and 6. If you can hit 2 before your opponent and immediately E to them and follow up with your Q it is typically game over in lane since your enemy is now low on health and cannot realistically without a gank catch back up. The best part is, once you hit lvl 3 your ability to tank is about 50% higher, so it only makes things harder for the enemy lane. The best part about Leona is that she can get in, CC an enemy, hit them, CC them again, and hit them one more time all while blowing up her W on them (and each of these provides additional damage from each of your ADCs attacks which he should be peppering the opposing laner with), and then get out while taking very minimal damage. She is fantastic at both tanking and crowd control and since those are two of the most important aspects to League of Legends it is no wonder she is so strong right now.

At level 6 she can do everything at level 3 and also follow that up with another AOE stun that deals decent damage. All together Leona has 2 stuns (one AOE and the other reliable) and 1 long range root. Her W gives her like 80 armor and magic resistance when maxed which is absolutely insane (it is like doubling her defensive stats entirely). She overall is so solid that it is difficult to deal with her at all in lane. Yet, one of her bigger strengths is the ability to CC high priority targets in team-fights! Yes, Leona cannot only lane well, but her team fight capabilities are also insane. All you have to do is pick out the highest priority targets and CC them to death. Another option that I prefer actually is to not use your CC until the middle or end of a fight (unless it is required that you be the one to engage) because it can effectively zone out the high DPS champions that are waiting for you to use it to go in safely. Should they not wait you simply CC them and your team blows them up.

Leona’s last really big strength is her engage or peel ability. She can engage fights very easily or peel fights because she has 2 good CC moves both on pretty low cool-downs, and also her AOE stun which slows a wider range than the stun radius by 80%. These abilities make her a total monster and cannot be taken lightly. Now that I have been able to discuss some of Leona’s core strengths, I would like to dive into her weaknesses which are few, but can be a big deal if taken advantage of.

Leona’s Weaknesses

Leona has very few weaknesses, but here are a few of the ones I can think of:

  • Lack of teamwork to make use of your CC
  • A bad ADC which makes it so you can’t do your job very well or feeds regardless of what you do. If you were the ADC and him support you might be able to carry, but a support cannot carry a terrible ADC and that really is annoying (this is an issue with any support though)
  • Leona can be beaten by lots of poke and sustain so champions like sona or soraka can do well against her assuming for some reason you can’t engage on them well. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is a recipe for disaster.
  • She can be beaten early by jungle ganks that set the enemy lane ahead. If you go to engage at lvl 2 or 3 and then their jungler shows up and you die, you are going to be behind and if that happens it is hard to recover. Leona is great when even or ahead in lane, but she has difficulty playing from behind because she is an “all-in” champion and if you cannot all in for risk of not having the damage to kill the enemies, she can’t do too much.

These are her main weaknesses and the reason that I lose at least 80% of the games that I do end up losing as Leona. Few things can be done to avoid these except for the obvious choices which are to pick her when you have already seen what the enemy support is (something I rarely do because I am afraid that they will just take my Leona), and of course duo with an ADC that you already know is competent and will do damage.

The Best Way To Play Leona

Early in the game you are going to want to be aggressive in lane whenever you get a chance post level 2. Make sure the lane is properly warded so you don’t get caught out by the enemy jungler because if he has a lick of sense he will understand how aggressive Leona’s play and come bottom to take pressure off or try to pick up a kill on you. Assuming you have vision you are safe to jump in and stun the enemy ADC anytime he steps out of position and just bully the lane into a favorable position for your ADC. As the game progresses the enemy ADC should fall behind in either CS, kills, or get low on life and this will allow you an opportunity to obtain one of the former.

Once your ADC is ahead Leona is the ridiculously powerful in lane and will be able to snowball the advantage pretty easily. Again, make sure you have warded and then just keep applying pressure, zoning their ADC from the minions and if he is far enough from his turret to engage just keep enaging on him until he dies or backs off. From here your lane has won and you should win the game. Once the laning phase ends be with your carries at all times and make sure to CC the high priority targets who are either diving your carries, or are hard for your carries to engage on by themselves. Priority should always be given to defending your ADC assuming he is either ahead or even with the enemy ADC . If he is way behind, priority then goes to the opposing teams most fed carry who is in range of your carries to follow up on. If you always remember to CC by priority then when team-fights roll around you should win pretty concisely.

The real question that baffles Leona players is what to do if you fall behind in lane early. This does not allow for you to be as aggressive without risk of snowballing the enemy teams’ bottom lane and falling even further behind which will surely result in a loss. So if you ever fall behind as Leona you will need to follow these three rules:

1. Do not play aggressively unless the enemy makes a big overcommit or your jungler is present. Just play as strong as you can without making any commitments (this is easier said than done, you pretty much have to make it look like you are not being passive, while being passive so that you ADC can get some farm and hopefully catchup or at least not fall too far behind until the enemy team makes a mistake).

2. Ask your jungler to come bottom because you have fallen behind and need a gank. He should be willing because you have ridiculous CC abilities which junglers love. Once the jungler comes hopefully you can make a play and get back into a favorable laning status where you can get back to being aggressive.

3. Always play cautiously! You simply cannot afford to make any misplays when you are already behind, so be sure to not walk out of position, face-check the wrong brush, or leave your ADC for too long in lane to ward because if anything else happens that allows the bottom lane of the enemy team to get further ahead than they already are, you most likely will not recover during the laning phase (this does not mean you will lose since there is still team fights later on, but it is not a good position to be in at all).

If you have followed these three rules and you come back in lane, great, you can proceed with the normal play and win like usual. If however, you are still behind going into team fights you need to really take extra care to ward, tell you allies to ward, and try to catch people out of position with your amazing CC. Walk around in groups if you can and try to force odd man fights and then take objectives to get back into the game. The best part about being Leona is that you can both engage and disengage pretty easily with your ultimate, so when it is up, make sure to take full advantage of it. One other option if the enemy team is not falling out of position at all and allowing you to recover by picking people is to play turtled up under a turret or wait for the enemy to go for Baron or Dragon and then engage on them with the extra damage provided by those sources. If you can get them to dive you under the turret and then CC some of their damage dealers, it is not that hard to turn a fight around.

In this regard the only thing Leona really lacks is wave clear. She has no way to clear the minions quickly, so you are going to have to rely on your team for that part. This is one small downside to Leona, but it is necessary because if she did have wave clear, she would quite easily be considered the most broken support in the game and Riot would have no choice but to nerf her substantially. Luckily, she doesn’t have wave clear, Riot still hasn’t noticed how over-powered she is quite yet, and she is not even banned much in ranked games which is nice because you can actually play her unlike come highly banned champions who are also over powered like Kassadin for example.

Concluding Thoughts

Leona is a fantastic support and a great champion to pick up if you like being a tank and providing crowd control to your team. She is definitely over powered right now and I am expecting her to get nerfed in the next few patches but luckily she has been flying under the radar so to speak. She fits into most comps, has few weaknesses aside from poor teammates in general (which is a problem no matter what champion you are), and is also really fun to play since you can be a pretty big play maker as a support which is not something you can pull off with say a Taric or Soraka support. The bottom line is, Leona deserves to be in the spotlight as a support right now. She is amazing in the current state of the game.

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